Lá Feile na Bríde

January 31, 2021

Even though we are all becoming very tired of the social restrictions associated with Covid, Jan31st/Feb1st is still an opportunity to celebrate. It is the feast of Brigid, who is goddess/saint of fertility, healing and iron work. As with all Irish feast days it commences the evening before hence Jan31st is the start of the celebration. This feast may be used as an opportunity to reflect on the bounty of nature, the many different forms of healing, and the beauty of craftmanship. She is associated with many holy wells in Ireland and a cross woven from rushes, St Brigid's Cross, is freshly made on the eve of her feast and hung over the fire or on the door to protect from fire. She is also seen as a liminal figure, traversing different worlds.

This month also sees the feast of St. Gobnait who was advised to settle where ever she would see nine deer. This happened in Ballyvourney, and it was here she established her monastery and her apiary. The Harry Clarke stained glass window depicting her with bees is to be seen in the Honan chapel, UCC. She is, of course the patron saint of bees and bee keepers.